Dan Romanelli Comments on Proposed Use of Taylor Farm House
Newtown Township resident Dan Romanelli commented on the proposed use of the Taylor Farm House as a shelter for abused women. His comments were made before the Board of Supervisors (BOS) at its August 11, 2021, public meeting. Mr. Romanelli and other residents are concerned about the complete lack of involvement of impacted local residents and other issues related to this use. Mr. Romanelli was uncertain where the jurisdiction of Newtown Township ends and where the County, which owns the property, begins. "The ultimate goal," said Mr. Romanelli in email to the BOS members, "is to have a safe environment for my family, children and neighbors with complete transparency in communication to keep Newtown thriving."
Mr. Romanelli had several questions he asked Supervisors via email after the meeting (see below).
Mr. Romanelli's Questions:
- Is the Taylor farm zoned for a business/ charity for battered women under Farm Act 319?
- What is the maximum number of people allowed on premise on a daily basis to include staff, residents, doctors and security?
- Is the township aware there will be 24-7 security on the premises and I am uncertain if that is to keep residents in or visitors out?
- Is the security armed or unarmed?
- Are the Newtown Police aware and training the security?
- Does the well / septic on the property have the capacity to cover the home/ business endeavor?
- Was a building permit issued to bring the neglected farmhouse to code with professional, licensed contractors with certificates of insurance? They seem to be using volunteers at this time. The barn looks ready to collapse- is that part of the makeover before children arrive on the property?
- Will there be inspections and CO issued from the Township to ensure all BOCA codes are met?
Police Chief Hearn's Response Regarding Security
I, along with Patrol Lieutenant Jason Harris had a meeting with Township Manager Micah Lewis, Assistant Township Manager Katherine McGovern, and YMCA Executive Director Guillaime Stewart regarding the Haven House project located within the confines of the Taylor Farm property on Wrights Road, and we were provided an opportunity to tour the facility with Mr. Stewart.
Although we (the Police Dept) have little control over the usage of the facility, we were reassured by Mr. Stewart that all safety precautions would be enacted to protect both the residents and the community. Closed circuit monitoring and strict control of visitors, and roaming of the site were discussed. It has been indicated that the treatment plans in place would benefit the residents, and free access to come and go do not exist as long as they wish to remain in the program. According to Mr. Stewart, any violations of narcotic usage, un-approved visitors, etc. would be grounds for immediate removal. The maximum number of residential occupants is listed as five(which includes children if they have them). The staff would work shifts and have direct oversight over the home 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The facility sits well off the roadway accessible by a gravel driveway/roadway and cameras were installed which surround the property. Mr. Stewart indicated installation of a perimeter fence (in the near future) would separate the farm from the residential home.
"The ultimate goal," said Mr. Romanelli, "is to have a safe environment for my family, children and neighbors with complete transparency in communication to keep Newtown thriving. Unfortunately the project hasn't started that way with taxpayers money and that concerns me."